Game room floor gets upgrade with layers of rich stain. Concrete Arts, Hudson, WI

Staining is, by far, the most popular method for enhancing both commercial and residential concrete floors. Stains can be applied to both new or existing concrete floors and work equally well with concrete overlays.

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Because concrete stains penetrate deeply into the concrete surface, they produce fade-resistant, permanent color. Unlike with a paint or coating, the color won't flake off or peel away.

Design flexibility:

Concrete stains are highly versatile. You can achieve just about any look imaginable to suit your design tastes and budget. You can add subtle hints of color, bolder design accents, and even custom graphics. Sometimes the best approach is to keep it simple, with just one stain color that complements your decor; or be more daring and use multiple stain colors to create a custom look.


With more environmentally friendly options than ever before, stained cement floors are also an environmentally friendly option. Few flooring options offer the same longevity as concrete and will require replacement, which uses resources and creates disposal problems.

Stained Concrete Floors-Ideas for Concrete Stains
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Watch an overview about RockMolds Lava Rock concrete stamp products.


Depending on the look you want to achieve for your stained concrete floor, you can choose from acid-based chemical stains or water-based stains.

Acid-based stain:

Acid stains penetrate and react chemically with the concrete, creating natural color variations that add character and unique mottling effects, similar to the appearance of marble or granite. Acid stains are also good for use on floors designed to resemble wood. The color selection is generally limited to subtle earth tones, such as tans, browns, terra cottas, and soft blue-greens.

Water-based stain:

If you want to go beyond the subtle drama and subdued color palette of acid staining, consider using water-based stains, which come in a full spectrum of shades. In many cases, the different colors can be mixed, like water-based paints, to broaden your options.

Concrete floor stain colors:

Shades of brown and gray are the most popular stain colors for concrete floors, but don’t be afraid to try bolder shades, such as blue or black, to add more drama. See color charts of popular acid-and water-based stains.


From farmhouse to modern, elegant to industrial, stained concrete floors can be designed to accompany just about any style of decor and used in any room in the house:


The combination of durability and customization options makes stained concrete the perfect choice for commercial flooring, and allow you to incorporate your company colors or logo right into the floor. Some of the places you may see stained cement floors are:


The staining process takes about 2 days and should only be done on fully cured concrete (at least 3 to 4 weeks old). Staining is done in 4 basic steps:

  1. Clean and prepare the concrete.
  2. Apply the stain
  3. Clean and neutralize the stain
  4. Seal the surface to protect it long term

For more on the staining process, see How to Stain Concrete.

DIY: Can I stain concrete floors myself?

Although the steps may sound simple, it can be difficult to get it right—surface prep must be meticulous for even coloration and you must have good knowledge about the products you are using. And remember, stain is permanent, there's no going back if you make a mistake. Learn more about why we think staining is a job left for the pros.


Here are a few design ideas to spark your imagination:

Carve Surfaceworks, Carolina Beach, N.C.

Floor Comes Alive with Stain and Dye

Concrete flooring artists can produce amazing special effects by simply using a combination of stains and dyes, along with creative application techniques.

General Concrete Finishers, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Getting Concrete to Look Like Natural Marble

Apply multiple colors of stain to mimic the look of natural marble, with mottled colors that add depth and warmth.

Floor Seasons, Las Vegas, NV

Stained Concrete Floor Art Replaces Worn Carpeting

Use stains along with decorative stencils, templates, or even painter’s tape to create artistic surfaces that are not only beautiful, but also practical, durable, and cost effective.

Impressions Decorative Concrete, Lutz, FL

Bowled Over by Color

Apply water-based stains in bold colors to produce eye-catching graphic treatments.

Custom Concrete Solutions, San Antonio, TX

Concrete Floors Create the Look of Wood

Combine staining with decorative engraving or sawcut patterns to achieve looks ranging from tile to wood planking to more elaborate designs.

Life Deck Coating Installations, San Diego, CA

Stain Rejuvenates an Existing Concrete Floor

Use just one stain color to produce a look that’s simple and elegant. Because stains react with the concrete, even the use of one stain color will result in unique, variegated color tones.

Fake It, British Columbia, Canada

Outdoor Landscape Inspires Faux Concrete Streams, Rocks & Sand

Create distinctive faux finishes by applying stain using sponges, rags, brushes, or even pieces of crumpled paper.


Are stained concrete floors expensive? Keep in mind that although staining is a comparatively low-cost finish option for concrete floors (starting as low as $2 to $4 per square foot), the final price tag of the project will increase if you want to use multiple stain colors, create custom graphics and faux finishes, or stain existing concrete that needs extensive cleaning and sealer removal. Find out more about the cost of stained concrete floors.

How do you clean stained concrete floors? Generally, regular dry and damp mopping is all it takes to keep your stained concrete floors clean. How often you need to clean them depends on the amount and type of traffic it receives. Find out more about how to care for interior concrete floors.

How do you fix stained concrete floors? Unfortunately, one of the few drawbacks of stained concrete floors is that they can be tricky to repair. Matching a stain years down the road can be quite difficult, and if the floor requires patching, the new concrete is likely to take the stain differently than the original surface. Read more about the pros and cons of concrete floors.

How is stain different than concrete paint? Stains actually penetrate the surface of the concrete whereas paints are only topical. Stains will be much more durable because of this, and won't chip or peel.

Are stained concrete floors slippery? As with other hard-surface flooring, stained concrete can be slippery, especially when wet. The addition of a high-gloss sealer can also make floors more slippery. Ask your contractor about mixing in nonslip additives into the stain or sealer before applying.

Do stained floors scratch easily? Stained floors are exceptionally scratch resistant, and when protected with a good sealer or floor wax, they are virtually scratchproof. When compared to painted surfaces, which can peel or chip, stain is definitely the more resilient choice.

How pet friendly are stained concrete floors? Properly stained and sealed floors resist pet stains and odors, are easy to clean, don't trap dander, are scratch resistant, and non-toxic. Learn more about the pet-friendly advantages of concrete flooring.

Related information: Stained Concrete vs. Other Flooring Materials

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